Here’s a video of the NYT’s Nikole Hannah-Jones telling a story about a teenage high school student who has it all … well, almost all. Via Longreads Story Night (Nikole Hannah-Jones on Race, Education and Inequality).

Hannah-Jones has recently moved over from ProPublica to the New York Times. She reported last summer’s widely-admired “This American Life” segment about the accidental (and quite temporary) circumstances in which poor black Missouri kids were allowed to attend a richer, whiter school district. (I, too, admired the piece, though I had some questions and concerns as well.)

Over the past two or three years, Hannah-Jones has led the push for education reporters and others to return to issues of residential and school segregation, which to my mind is a very welcome thing. She’s also a person of color, which education journalism as much or more than the rest of journalism, sorely needs more of. (For more on this, see my March 2015 blog post White Reporters & Students Of Color.)

However, in advocating for attention on race and inequality Hannah-Jones is breaking out of the traditional reporter role, doing what some other reporters (Glenn Greenwald and Jorge Ramos come to mind) have done: not holding back the importance and urgency that they feel around the issues that they cover.  As with Greendwald and Ramos, this approach has potential downsides along with tremendous potential. 

Related posts: Some Questions About This American Life’s School Integration SegmentSchool Segregation’s BackGetting Advocates & Journalists Out of the Small Stone BoxFew Journalists & People of Color Make 2015 Social Media ListHusband Of NYT’s Race & Class Reporter Involved In Brooklyn Integration Story.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at